I’ve been really bogged down lately trying to finish up book edits for an early February deadline. Happy to say it is going extremely well and, if I do say so myself, this is going to be a fabulous book! We’ve been loaded with birds, including huge flocks of blackbirds and several pairs of bluebirds. The feeders are busy all the time and the woodpeckers seem especially hungry these days. Seems like I have had to refill suet more often than usual.
So, I decided to make some double-sized suet holders out of one of my favorite craft materials: hardware cloth. Hardware cloth is not a fabric. Rather, it is wire mesh that comes in a variety of sizes and is even available with a green plasticized coating. Both are usually available at home improvement centers and hardware stores. I use a lot of the ½” mesh for craft projects (including some really fabulous baskets for the new book) and I save all the scraps for small projects like this.
Double Suet Holder
- Piece of ½” hardware cloth (HC) 10” x 16” galvanized or coated
- Wire cutters
- Hammer/mallet and a block of wood
- 15-20 “J” hooks and special pliers
- 18” covered soft wire, preferably coated
The “J” hooks and pliers are available at from some web sites and store and are also sold as “aviary clips”. They are typically used to attach pieces of hardware cloth and chicken wire to construct cages for rabbits and birds. I ordered mine from www.FarmTek.com. They are listed as “cage clips” and cost $4.99/lb. The special pliers to attach them is $27.95, but it is a rally handy, well-designed tool you will be able to use the clips for all kinds of things around the yarn. The Farm Tek catalog/web site is full of useful things you don’t always find in regular garden catalogs so it is worth a look.
Step 1 Use the wire cutters to cut a piece of HC as shown in the diagram below. Trim all the cuts closely. Note that the cover should be cut away from the body of the suet holder completely so that it can be properly hinged later.
Step 2 The heavy lines on the diagram show where to fold the HC. I use a block of wood and a mallet to get sharper creases.
Step 3 When all of the sides have been folded, use the cage clips to secure them. I used 2 to secure the sides to the bottom and 3 to attach the sides to the front.
Step 4 Remove some of the wire at one edge of the cover as shown on the diagram. Then bend the next row of mesh at a 45º angle to the cover.
Step 5 Attach the cover to the suet holder with 3 clips. Bend the 4 individual wires that protrudes from the folded edge so that they form small hooks to keep the cover closed.
Step 6 Attach the piece of covered wire to the ends of the suet holder by threading the wire through the end of the holder and catching the double thickness in a clip.
Step 7 Fill the holder with two suet blocks and run out less often!